Endure to the end

Matthew 24:1-35

  • For the next few weeks we’re going to be covering the return of Christ- This is the subject matter that Jesus is covering with his disciples as we’re leading up to his resurrection. 
  • Today we’re talking about the signs of Christ’s return, then ready, waiting, preparing, and the Judgment at Christs return. It’s going to be an exhilarating few weeks
  • I said to Crystal- nice topic for Christmas- and she reminded me- this is what Christmas is all about- The arrival of a savior, and then we wait for his eventual return. 
  • Jesus promised he would come again in John 14. The Bible says the return will be ‘like a thief in the night’. It will come when we least expect it. Everyone who has ever predicted Christ’s return has been wrong
  • Let me say this- Do not believe anyone who tells you that they know when Christ will return. Do no adjust your life, finances or health based on a predetermined date. 
  • Christ may come today, tomorrow, or for your grandchildren. Live like he’s going to return at any moment- prepare like he’s coming for your grandchildren. You do not know. 
  • His imminent return should be an encouragement to us- now and in the future. I hope I see his return. It was about 4000 years from Adam to Jesus- That’s how long they waited- (long wait)
  • But when he came 2000 years ago- it was to pay the penalty for our sin, to gain us access to the father.  Salvation came through the death burial and resurrection. We’re in between. 
  • His second coming will be much different- it will be to judge the world. Everyone will give an account of their thoughts, actions and sins. Jesus will separate the sheep from the goats, and some will spend eternity in heaven and some will spend eternity in Hell. 
  • We live in a special time where we can harvest souls to spend eternity with Jesus- 
  1. The context- 
  • Jesus begins to talk about and prepare his disciples for the destruction of Jerusalem and his imminent return. Jerusalem is going to be destroyed (1-3), 
  • His disciples, trusting Jesus have 2 different questions that most of us would have it were us- 
  • When will this happen? Jer. Dest. And What will be the sign of your coming? 
  • So Jesus goes through and tells them many signs that they can use to decipher what to look for and what it means when it comes to his return?
  1. The Signs-
  2. There will be General signs- The beginning of the birth pains
  • Now the measure of these signs is that these signs have been going on in the church age for the past two thousand years- Many would ask- so how can we trust the signs if it has taken so long?
  • Listen very closely- One of the worst theological perspectives that you can have is that you are the main protagonist in the Bible- that you are the leading character in the Bible and your life
  • This truth wrecks people’s psyche and focus because they want something to be happening
  • We are, at best- extras on the set volunteering to be in the movie. You are not the center. 
  • Jesus is the main character throughout the whole Bible and that means its on HIS timeline
  • General sign- False messiahs- 4-5
  • There has been and will continue to be people who claim to be Jesus- There has been many over the past 2000 years. Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Sung Yun Moon, Etc. Allan guy in Australia
  • Obviously- none of them are Jesus- but they are false messiahs- and there will be more.
  • General sign- Wars and rumors of wars 6
  • Some estimates say we’ve only been at peace 268 years of the past 3400. Approx 100 million people died of war in the 20th century- We’ve been at war with someone my whole life. 
  • Wars have been and will continue to happen until Jesus return- we can’t stop it
  • General sign Natural disasters- 7-8
  • Increase in Natural Disasters on a Global Scale by Ten Times
  • Data captured between 1900 and 2019 by the Institute for Economics and Peace reveal an increase from 39 incidents in 1960 to 396 in 2019.
  • Some say five fold- But data shows they are increasing in great measure- Flood, hurricane etc. 
  • General Signs- 
  • These are called the General signs because they are well, general- False messiahs, wars, and natural disasters have been going on for 2000 years. 
  • But they are a sign- Increase? Intensity? Frequency? IDK- But they are a sign- 
  • If only to lead us to spiritual reflection and trust of God- they are worth it- Don’t ignore. 
  1. Specific signs
  • These specific signs are not general because they are connected to how something was- v how they are now- things begin to change and those are an indication of a sign to look at. 
  • Specific sign- Persecution and falling away 9-10
  • NPR-The U.S.’s Christian majority has been shrinking for decades. A Pew Research Center study shows that as of 2020, about 64% of Americans identify as Christian. Fifty years ago, that number was 90%.
  • Forbes- According to the research, the persecution of Christians has reached the highest levels since the World Watch List began nearly 30 years ago. “Across 76 countries, more than 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith – an increase of 20 million since last year.” 312 million Christians live in the top 50 countries alone. One in every seven Christians live under at least high levels of persecution or discrimination for their faith.
  • Anecdotally-I’ve personally seen more people fall away that come to Christ in my life. HS, College, Nationally, Christians are more rare than they were when I Got saved.  
  • Specific sign- False teaching that deceives many 11
  • With the onset of the internet, social media, tv, radio, etc, ANYONE can create a following and present ‘truth’ to ‘itching ears’. (There has never been time in history to spread false doc)
  • You must be diligent to keep your self from false doctrine. I don’t listen to other preachers that I don’t know, listen to podcasts, rarely read modern Christian books, follow on SM. 
  • I may not fully understand the bible when I die, but I will not be led astray by a internet preacher. I am going to trust that I can figure out the basics 
  • Somehow- for 2000 years people just had a bible, church and preacher and they made it. 
  • Specific sign- The love of many grow cold 12-13
  • What Jesus is saying- People aren’t going to love any more. People or God. Personally- I feel like I know exactly what he’s saying. Some people just agree to Christianity, they don’t fall in love with Jesus. Again, this has been a problem since the beginning. Christianity is not state religion
  • Specific sign- The Gospel goes out to the world 14 (never a time easier to share gospel)
  • Some could argue this was fulfilled the day Jesus left the earth- Matthew 28- Go therefore
  • Acts 1:8. And now- there’s probably missionaries in every nation on the planet- It’s out there
  1. A mysterious sign (signs that are not as easily understood or deciphered)
  • The abomination that causes desolation 15-20
  • This is a prophecy from Daniel 11:31-32. First fulfillment in 168 BC Antiochus puts statue of Zeus in the temple and sacrifices a pig on the altar- 2nd fulfilment AD 70 with Romans destroying the city of jerusalem
  • These are just foreshadows of the anti-Christ. There will be a fullness of this prophecy before the return of Christ. “let the reader understand” makes it cryptic. There will be a third stage 
  • A time of great distress like no other- 21-22
  • Just like the destruction of Jerusalem- the distress precluding the arrival of Jesus will be great
  • Some hope in there tho- ‘unless the days were shortened’ This will not be sustained. 
  • False christs, false prophets, false miracles 23-25
  • Notice Jesus reiterates the false christs- but also false prophets and false miracles
  • This is why you should stay away from people whom you do not know and their future prophecies- its dangerous. (My wife in 2019 with terror in streets and food shortages- was right- but there are many people who make prophecies that are wrong y2k trump etc)
  • But also false miracles- It’s possible to be deceived! Stay in the Truth! Stay away from error!
  1. The Ultimate sign- Jesus in the sky 26-31
  • You will not have to question if It’s Jesus because he will arrive in the sky- 
  • It will be Visible to all 26-28
  • Unlike this Christmas season- where Jesus came to one place at one time to one people- his return is going to be in the sky- you’ll go- well- there he is- 
  • There’s going to be Cataclysmic events v29 Stars will fall from heaven! What will that be like?
  • Nations will mourn 30. Those who have rejected Christ will be put in their place
  • Gathering of the elect 31-  all of us who are in Christ Jesus will be gathered into Christ
  • He will come for us- he will gather us- we will be with Him
  1. The certainty of the Words of Jesus- 34-35
  • 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
    His return is near32-35 it is near—at the doors!
  • He uses the example of the The fig tree- 32-33 to encourage them- this is imminent! 

SO WHAT DO WE DO WITH ALL OF IT?

  1. Don’t be deceived

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.

  • This is not the season of “seems legit”. This is the season of trust hardly anyone. 
  • Be different. It’s ok if people think you’re weird or off. You do not owe anyone but God an explanation. Just do Bible and Jesus. Stick with the historical simple truths of God’s word that have been made manifest and true for 2000 years.
  • I john 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
  • Stay true to what you know! Don’t go looking for anything new! Flee nonsense! Stay bible!
  • People in the church? If you’re deceiving people- God be with you. Don’t want to answer to that one day- too much time on tik tok, youtube etc. Study your bible more! 
  • Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.- Not arguing, discussing, NO
  • 2. Be prepared (if you stay ready you don’t have to get ready) 
  • 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
  • This is not the season of being weak. The time to get ready for a fight is BEFORE
  • Prayed up-now. Bible knowledge-now. Relationships-now. Healthy-now. holiness-now
  • Mt 24:44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
  • If I gave you a date of his return- how would you change your life? What would you do?
  • 1 cor 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
  • Heb 11:17 READ
  • Prepared an ark- The Church is the ark- but you need to prepare yourself for it as well!> 
  • Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished.- We see it- we know it’s coming! Stay away from evil! Be careful out there! 
  • 1 john 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that [a]when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
  1. Endure to the end
  • 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
  • Recently talking to someone about dudes that used to go to our church and hang outside
  • None of them serving Christ anymore- probably never were. 
  • Heb 3:14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,
  • Set your mind- I am a Christian- I am not going to falter. I am not going to turn away. 
  • Rev 2:3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
  • It can become weary! The way you fight it is with discipline! Stay in Jesus, stay away from sin, Pray and read everyday, Fellowship with other Christians. STAY IN CHURCH. 
  • Don’t tell yourself you wont be the one to slip away- It could happen to anyone of us
  • Old job- starting to slip away- moving towards $- I quit and said I’d rather fail that slip away. 
  • 2 tim 2:12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
  • Jesus is coming back- believe that. Stay prepared for his imminent return!

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